Food Notes for September 14, 2020

Scavenger Hunt Encourages North Edge Exploration

The North Edge, a Business Improvement Area located just north of Downtown and Oliver, has created a unique way to encourage exploration of more than a dozen of their food-related establishments.

YEG Takeout is offering a total of $750 in Visa gift cards for those keen to solve clues related to 14 different businesses in the area, or at least take the time to visit at least one location during the specified time frame. The contest runs from September 11-25, 2020. Participating businesses include The Art of Cake, Uproot Food Collective, The Lingnan, and Blue Nile Restaurant.

The scavenger hunt was put together by Vinson Luong of Food Search Inc. Early on in the pandemic back in March, Vinson had put together a popular Google Doc listing over 500 restaurants who were offering take-out and delivery.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

  • Hanjan is opening a third location in Oliver on September 18, 2020. Find it at 10166 114 Street.
  • Eritrean restaurant Weini opened in August 2020 at 10514 111 Street.
  • New Italian restaurant Del Posto opened up back in July in the former Pho Langs space at 10056 107 Street.
  • Thanks to Linda for the heads-up about a new Mexican restaurant in Spruce Grove called El Taco Loco (307 McLeod Avenue).
  • Two new establishments will be opening up in Riverdale later this year by the current owners of Little Brick: savoury bakery Bread and Butter Bakery and pub Dogpatch.

Upcoming Events

  • A trio of amazing chefs (Edgar Gutierrez, Roel Canafranca, Ariel del Rosario) are collaborating to cook up a Filipino-inspired brunch on September 20, 2020 at Filistix.
  • The Telus World of Science is hosting a virtual fundraising event called the Lumen Kitchen Party on October 16, 2020. Tickets are $20 and include live performances and food-themed science experiments. There is also the option for a dinner and wine-pairing from RGE RD or Guru (starting at $43 per person).

Local News

  • Why Not started a pre-order take-out only initiative called Backstairs Burger (a take on the “alley burgers” of the past). They’re serving up some of “the craziest burgers in YEG”.
  • I Heart Edmonton created a Foodie Edition of a #TrueEdmontonian list that went viral last week. This list includes 50 food businesses, some of which are no longer in business. These types of lists are always subjective, and others have offered their own lists in response.
  • Sharman Hnatiuk put together a great gluten-free restaurant guide over at Explore Edmonton.
  • In the same vein as In the Weeds, Chef Steven Brochu of MilkCrate launched MilkCrate Listens in June 2020. It’s meant to “encourage more conversations about mental health, particularly within the restaurant and hospitality industries.”
  • True North Picnic will continue to offer outdoor picnics as long as the temperature remains above 0C. Their fall picnic experiences take place at fire pits.
  • Kristina Botelho of kb&co is a finalist for the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Emerging Entrepreneur Award.
  • Calgary and Edmonton top take-out numbers in all of Canada, according to Skip the Dishes (though it doesn’t specify whether this is per capita or volume). Over at DoorDash, it appears the most popular item are fries.
  • Pizza 73, which originated in Edmonton in 1985, is celebrating 35 years in business.
  • Grocery delivery service Inabuggy has launched Inabuggy-Mart in Edmonton that will offer 30-minute delivery from convenience stores, flower shops and butchers.

Beyond Edmonton

  • Plant-based Impossible Burger is now available in Canada, but unfortunately, not currently in Edmonton. 13 restaurants in Canada are serving up their products; locals will have to drive to Calgary’s CHARCUT to taste it for now.

What I Ate

  • Mack, Emily, and I headed to Drumheller last week for another staycation. As with our other break earlier this summer, we brought frozen dishes sourced locally, including pies from South Island Pies, TV dinners from Culina To Go, and pizzas from Love Pizza (unfortunately, they’ve pivoted away from the frozen pies).

Love Pizza

Meatatarian take-and-bake from Love Pizza

  • Having meals at our AirBnB is a symptom of having a two-year old but also an effort to limit necessary trips indoors. WE made one exception for a stop at Black Mountain Roasters, to sample some local coffee and fresh cinnamon buns.

Black Mountain Roasters

Cinnamon bun from Black Mountain Roasters

  • We are so grateful to everyone who was involved in getting a market back #on4th this summer. Emily is old enough now to look excitedly out the window on Saturday mornings and exclaim that the market is here. We were regulars at Riverbend Gardens (we look forward to their corn every August), Steve & Dan’s, and Sunworks, and look forward to the possibility that the market may return again next summer. Check out the final Al Fresco Market of the season on September 19, from 11am-4pm.

Al Fresco on 4th

Emily will miss the market

Food Notes for September 7, 2020

Restauranteur Pushes for Regulations to Support Winterizing Patios

As temperatures recede, restaurants across the country are considering options to maintain outdoor dining spaces into the cooler months. Some businesses have relied heavily on patios during the pandemic to boost sales, but as the seasons change, the need to winterize spaces is becoming apparent.

In response to Rachel Notley’s tweet last week asking restauranteurs what they would need to enable this, Cartago and Fleish owner Katy Ingraham made some suggestions:

“We need temporary patio permits made permanent or extended past Dec 31st, snow and ice clearing a priority, relaxation of restrictions for structures and fires, a culture shift to active and vibrant winter cities, money to activate plans and marketing to support the industry.”

Winter patios are not new to Edmonton; in fact, Winter City Edmonton (the City’s initiative to encourage citizens to appreciate and enjoy the outdoors, even during the winter) has been promoting winter patios for several years, including tips on how to design a four season patio. Cafe Bicyclette has had perhaps the most successful all-season patio, a combination of a set-up that protects from some winds, and their investment in space heaters and cozy blankets. For the majority of restaurants (and diners), it will be interesting to see just how many take the plunge to embrace an extension to the outdoor dining season.

COVID-19-related News

  • Ace Coffee Roasters in Garneau has re-opened.
  • The Tomato has a great photo essay featuring restaurants who have honed in on the art of take-out (Corso 32, The Butternut Tree, Glass Monkey, and Japonais).
  • CBC checked in with some businesses, including Blue Plate Diner and Spice Centre, about mask compliance at their establishments.

Openings

  • Find new Norwood restaurant Belge Cafe at 11307 95 Street.
  • Bistro 99 has taken over the space formerly occupied by a Starbucks at 99 Avenue and 105 Street.

Closures

Upcoming Events

  • NorQuest is hosting food trucks every Monday to Thursday in September from 11am-1pm on 108 Street and 102 Avenue.
  • Action for Healthy Communities is hosting YEG International World Tour Market on September 19, 2020 from 1-5pm at 10578 113 Street, featuring a number of food vendors.
  • Wild Heart and Kingsway Mall are again hosting a food truck festival on September 25, 2020 from 5-9pm, featuring up to 10 trucks.

Local News

  • Tech Life Today has the story behind the partners attempting to revive the Transit Hotel. It’s first phase, if all goes well, will see the main-floor family-friendly smokehouse restaurant open in the fall.
  • A listicle from Narcity points to a dozen alternatives to Starbucks that also serve pumpkin spice lattes.
  • The Edmonton Public Library has a video session all about the science of sourdough, led by Christine Gue from FiddleSticks Bread.
  • Russell Bird from You Need a BBQ is the guest on this week’s episode of the Eat More Barbecue podcast.
  • The Root Seller Greenhouse in northeast Edmonton is now bordered by residential communities as opposed to farmland when it first opened.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Reclaim Urban Farm pivoted in March when their restaurant orders tanked, and have stayed afloat due to their partnership with the Organic Box and by offering fresh flower bouquets.
  • Jerry Kitt of First Nature Farm, a long-time vendor at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, is retiring. His last market day is October 3, 2020.

What I Ate

  • I foresee many trips to T and D Noodle House over the next number of months when working out of the office – their bun bo hue always hits the spot for me.

T and D Noodle House

Bun bo hue from T and D Noodle House

  • Mack and I got out for an afternoon date over the weekend, and stopped by Dorinku Osaka for some warming ramen (I do enjoy their tonkotsu). A patio along a four-lane section of Jasper Avenue isn’t the most pleasant place to eat, but I appreciated their effort to enclose the space with picturesque planter boxes.

Dorinku

Iekei Tonkotsu from Dorinku Osaka

  • Emily, Mack, and I headed out to Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village on their last operational weekend. I’m not sure Emily could yet appreciate the history (especially given all of the buildings were closed as a part of their COVID precautions), but she certainly loved the perogies!

Ukrainian Cultural Village

Platter from Ukrainian Cultural Village

Food Notes for August 31, 2020

Sugared and Spiced to Re-Evaluate Business Model

Like many food businesses, bakery Sugared and Spiced pivoted early on in the pandemic this summer and began offering some take-and-bake items. This met a need for customers limiting trips outside the home, and was added as an option in addition to their fresh baked goods and cakes. But with the length of the pandemic, they announced a need to shift their business model further.

Co-owners Amy and Jeff Nachtigall shared an update on August 26, 2020:

“So many things have changed in our lives and our business over the last 5 months, and we need to take a moment to examine how we can make our shop viable. Our revenue comes from things like spontaneous activity, well-planned gatherings and events, discretionary spending, and summer festival spillover. All of these are down, and some are non-existent.”

In response, the shop is closed for walk-ins until September 4, 2020 to provide the business time to re-evaluate. This will include some menu changes and finalizing an online ordering system.

So far, Sugared and Spiced has been “inundated with orders” after posting the update, and hope to have their new online system up soon.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

Upcoming Events

  • Le Cheeseburger Week takes place from September 1-7, 2020, with a national search for Canada’s best cheeseburger. The event benefits Centraide and United Way, with proceeds with select burgers donated to food, housing and skills training programs. While most entries are concentrated in Quebec, Edmonton has one entrant: Cafe Rista.
  • Canada’s Great Kitchen Party will be hosted virtually in Edmonton on October 23, 2020 with three-course meals delivered to ticket holders. Tickets are $195 per person. The Tomato has a run-down of the six chefs competing.

Reviews

Local News

  • The Edmonton Journal’s Liane Faulder submitted her farewell column – her voice will be missed in the local food scene.
  • Chartier out in Beaumont has re-opened after some renovations.
  • Ernest’s at NAIT will re-open in September.
  • Food truck Smoke & Ash was broken into last week.
  • Pink Gorilla Pizzeria continues the trend of heat-and-eat items with their Grab n Go Calzones.
  • CBC Radioactive went on a hunt for mini doughnuts, in lieu of cancelled festivals this summer. They found them at Fatburger.
  • Long-standing Black Box Hospitality Group Chef Allan Suddaby is departing the company – best wishes Allan!
  • CJSR podcast That’s Food launched their second season with a doughnut-focused episode, sampling their way through Bliss Baked Goods, Take 5, Italian Bakery, Ohana, and Safeway.
  • Parts 3 and 4 of the Let’s Find Out series focusing on former restaurant Mirama are now available.

Beyond Edmonton

  • KFC has suspended their “finger lickin’ good” slogan in light of the pandemic.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Chatsworth Farm, located about two hours east of Edmonton, has started a Chatsworth Farm Through the Season subscription. Participants will be able to visit the farm at five prime times through the year, including harvest, calving season, and lambing season. 15 spots are available and the deadline to sign up is September 21, 2020.

What I Ate

  • Art of Charcuterie has teamed up with Meuwly’s to offer handmade boxes that will feature their house-made cured meats alongside other local products. We were fortunate enough to have been gifted a sample over the weekend, and can attest to how stunning they are.

Art of Charcuterie

Art of Charcuterie box

  • Mack, Emily, and I celebrated the end of summer (since every glorious day at this point may be the last one) with another picnic on Friday. It was time for our annual Burger’s Priest binge on their Vatican City burger (made with two grilled cheese sandwich “buns”).

Burger’s Priest

Vatican City from Burger’s Priest

Food Notes for August 24, 2020

Restaurant Receives Support for Upholding Mask Bylaw

Last week, Blue Plate Diner tweeted that they refused entry to patrons who chose not to follow the current mask bylaw.

“Soo… there’s still a mask-wearing bylaw in effect right,? Because we just got chewed out by a couple who "weren’t going to do this shit" when we politely asked them to put on their masks so we could take them to their table. Our staff and I will not be bullied.”

On August 1, 2020, the City of Edmonton adopted a bylaw that mandates a mask or face covering in all indoor public places. This includes inside restaurants when diners are not eating or drinking.

Co-owner Rima Devitt shared with CTV News that the patron was a regular customer. The restaurant had also experienced a second incident where a different customer refused to wear a mask.

The response to their tweet was overwhelmingly positive, with most respondents supporting their stance of enforcing the required protocol.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

  • Mood Cafe is opening soon in the space formerly occupied by Gracious Goods in Belgravia (7601 115 Street). They will offer pastry and pizzas.
  • A new restaurant called Taste of Lebanon is forthcoming on Whyte Avenue and 101 Street.
  • Smokehouse BBQ has relocated their operations to the German Canadian Culture Association (8310 Roper Road). The restaurant will re-open September 10, 2020 and feature a German menu and selected Smokehouse items.

Closures

  • Malaysian restaurant Island Cafe & Bistro is now closed.

Upcoming Events

  • 2019 Great Kitchen Party and 2020 Fire Masters winner Chef JP Dublado will be holding a take-out pop-up at Filistix Downtown on August 30, 2020. Take a peek at his menu and order online.
  • If you’re craving Montreal-style bagels, Tamara Vineberg is co-hosting a bagel fundraiser for the B’nai Brith Youth Organization – $20 per dozen bagels to be received on September 16, 2020. Orders need to be in by September 11.

Local News

  • Liane Faulder is retiring from The Edmonton Journal on August 31, 2020 after more than 30 years with the paper. While Liane has not been primarily covering food since August 2019, it is a loss for the local food scene.
  • Congratulations to Northern Chicken who raised over $1500 for In the Weeds YEG, a group of hospitality professionals who provide mental health support and advocacy.
  • Both Corso 32 and Bar Bricco remain closed due to flood damage.
  • Explore Edmonton is offering a free digital brewery pass, which enables pass holder discounts at ten local breweries.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Alberta Farmer has the origin story of Rosy Farms, a haskap farm in Alcomdale. Owner Andrew Rosychuk is investigating on-farm processing of the berries, and the potential to grow the market for haskaps and processed products.

What I Ate

  • Filistix easily has the cutest patio Downtown – two tables framed by wood planters and a great set back from the street. We had to try their new sweet spaghetti (with hot dogs, of course). Emily loved it, but Mack and I will likely always prefer the flavour bomb that is the bagoong xo fried rice.

Filistix

Sweet spaghetti from Filistix

  • Running errands was made better after refueling at Farrow. Long live the Grick!

Farrow

Grick sandwich from Farrow

    Food Notes for August 17, 2020

    Uproot Food Collective Highlights Local Producers

    Many food and grocery delivery services have sprung up in the wake of the pandemic. While some offer local products, Uproot Food Collective is among the few who feature only Alberta-based companies.

    Uproot Food Collective started with three farmers’ market vendors working to grow their businesses together. They created a brick and mortar shop in Edmonton with a delivery option to other communities in the province to make it easier for consumers to find their products. They have since expanded to include 18 companies under the Uproot banner.

    From August 17-18, 2020, they are offering a 20% flash sale of certain Uproot Food Collective products to promote the food hub and to make them more accessible to people in Alberta. Included in the sale are items from Honest Dumplings, South Island Pie, Little Bear Gelato, Caramunchies, Drift, and Mojo Jojo Pickles, among others.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Versailles Cafe is now open on High Street in the former Starbucks location (12507 102 Avenue).
    • Two Brown Dogs has replaced Passion de France on Alberta Avenue at 11812 86 Street. They offer dine-in services, coffee, and freezer meals.
    • Tiramisu Bistro on 124 Street has opened up Lift Me Up Market next door. They offer bread, pastries and produce.
    • Sweethoney Dessert is a new chain spot in Old Strathcona featuring Hong Kong-style sweets. It is located at 10746 82 Avenue.

    Closures

    • It appears Normand’s Bistro in the Citadel is closing.

    Upcoming Events

    Reviews

    Local News

    • Kari has news about a new Lebanese catering business called Franco’s Goodies.
    • Intent Coffee, a first generation Pilipinx immigrant, queer, youth, and barista owned coffee collective is hoping to crowdfund $6,000 to go towards their cafe space in Southgate Centre. They have raised over 50% of their goal so far.
    • Alexis Hillyard (aka Stump Kitchen) will be competing on Food Network’s Wall of Chefs in an episode airing October 13, 2020.
    • The Journal published an ode to the Empress.
    • Prairie North, a forthcoming cider company, has put their space on hold indefinitely. In the meantime, they have pivoted to work on collecting fruit donations for families in need. Donations will be accepted from September to October.
    • Arts on the Ave has organized an initiative called Families Helping Families. It pairs a volunteer family capable of buying and delivering groceries with a family in need.
    • Leftovers YEG has continues to divert an increasing amount of food from the landfill to people in need – last month, they collected over 16,000 pounds of food from local grocery stores and farmers’ market vendors.

    Beyond Edmonton

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • The Edmonton Heritage Council is collecting stories of the City Market when it was housed on 97 Street and 102 Avenue to contribute towards a Chinatown heritage project. Stop by the market to share a memory on August 23 or 29, 2020 from 11am-2pm.
    • Did you ever wonder about the differences between a public and Alberta-approved market? The 124 Street Market shared a post about the regulations and perceptions.
    • The Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc received $2.6 million in federal funding to help support companies to develop new plant-based foods and products.

    What I Ate

    • Celebrating small moments of joy are important these days – such as having my first grilled chicken vermicelli bowl from T and D Noodle House in many, many months.

    T and D Noodle House

    Grilled chicken vermicelli bowl from T and D

    • We met up with Mack’s brother and sister-in-law while they were in town on the DOSC patio – it is amazingly convenient to have several outdoor dining choices right outside our door. The fries were seasoned with a heavy hand, but overall, their oxtail poutine was a comfort, and reasonably priced.

    DOSC

    Oxtail poutine from DOSC

    • We’re also trying to make the most of these fleeting summer days, and ordered a take-out feast from Bundok to enjoy on our outdoor space. It’s hard not to love their gnocchi, but the fresh shaved fennel and nectarine salad was a close second.

    Bundok

    Takeout from Bundok

    Food Notes for August 10, 2020

    RGE RD Expands Business with The Butchery

    RGE RD’s much-anticipated sister business, The Butchery, is set to open by the end of August. Located next door to RGE RD, owners Blair Lebsack and Caitlin Fulton have created a haven for home cooks looking for tips and locally-sourced, high quality products.

    In addition to custom cuts of meat (sourced from the same farmers whose products are served at RGE RD), staff will be available to answer questions about preparation techniques. The space will also eventually host meat-cutting classes.

    For those less-inclined to cook, frozen items like their popular house-made empanadas will be available, as well as ready-to-eat comfort foods like soups and sandwiches.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Breadlove, which vends at farmers’ markets in Edmonton, has opened a storefront in St. Albert (46C St. Michael Street).
    • Al Salam Pita has opened a restaurant next door, called Al Salam Restaurant (10149 34 Avenue).
    • Congratulations to Remedy who has opened their ninth location in the Bell Tower (150, 10104 103 Avenue).
    • Villa, who closed their location on 104 Street, relocated to the former location of Nello’s at 11520 100 Avenue.
    • Oodle Noodle has opened a branch in Hamptons, located at 19912 Lessard Road.
    • A new cafe is coming to Old Strathcona called La Bosco Bakery & Cafe, located at 10413 79 Avenue.
    • Arcadia Brewing Co. will be setting up shop in the new Manchester Square Development at 12016 107 Avenue.

    Upcoming Events

    • Analog Brewing collaborated with Yelo’d to produce a Calamansi Wit Beer. They’re celebrating the launch with an event at The Common on August 11, 2020. Tickets are $50 and include a pour, sorbet float, and a burger.
    • Fish & Chip Fridays return to Sabor on August 14, 21, 28, 2020, with proceeds in support of various local charities. Meals are $15.
    • Get Cooking is hosting another farm dinner at Prairie Gardens as a part of Open Farm Days on August 15, 2020. Tickets are $145 per person.
    • The Edmonton Public Library is hosting a free online session about sourdough starters on August 18, 2020.
    • The Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta is offering a free online cooking demonstration and Q & A on pulses on August 21, 2020.

    Local News

    Beyond Edmonton

    • A neighbourhood in Calgary will soon be home to a community fridge, freezer, and pantry. The article references a similar fridge in Edmonton, but I am not aware of anything but the Oliver-based food exchange box.
    • Plant-based chicken is now available for a limited time at KFC.
    • It looks like Conde Nast didn’t actually want to make systemic changes in the wake of the allegations of pay disparity in Bon Appetit’s Test Kitchen. As a result, several stars have left the video series.

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    What I Ate

    • Mack had been craving The Lingnan’s dry spicy chicken, so we put in an order on Friday. And though the weather was blustery and drizzly for most of the day, the sun peeked out in time for us to walk over to pick up our food. We had more than enough for meals over three days, and dry spicy chicken has a new fan in Emily!

    The Lingnan

    Food for days from The Lingnan

    Food Notes for August 3, 2020

    NHL Playoffs Bring Additional Patio Space

    Back in May, the City of Edmonton announced relaxed guidelines that allowed food establishments to more seamlessly open or expand patios. In the months that followed, it was great to see increased vibrancy on the sidewalks and streets.

    The start of the NHL playoffs on August 1, 2020 has added another layer to this, as restaurants and pubs scramble to attract hockey fans seeking socially distant options to watch games. Many establishments that weren’t previously equipped with screens have adopted them for this purpose.

    Campio Brewing was already equipped with a sizable patio, but for the playoffs, the brewpub has more than doubled their outdoor space. They’ve turned their adjacent surface parking lot into a so-called “Beer Arena”, with picnic tables and a big screen and speakers.

    While it’s unlikely these transformations will be permanent (though in New York, they’re already planning for street closures beginning June 1, 2021), the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means they may need to be in place beyond this season. And urbanists can dream that more long-term changes are possible.

    COVID-19-related News

    • Ra Bar, located in the McLeod Building, re-opened on August 1, 2020. They had only opened for two weeks before COVID-19 shut them down; they serve Japanese, Korean, and French fusion.

    Openings

    • Yelo’d is now slinging Filipino-inspired scooped ice cream in their Sosyal Scoops food truck!
    • Winston’s Fish and Chips has added a food truck to their business.

    Closures

    • Doppio Zero Pizza (the retooled Kanu Cafe) is now closed.
    • The Empress Ale House in Old Strathcona has closed.

    Upcoming Events

    Local News

    • Bon Ton Bakery has a beautiful new website to allow for curbside pick-up to skip the line. It’s great to see local businesses stepping up their online game.
    • The people who hope to rebuild the Transit Hotel have started a crowdfunding campaign to help their efforts. Their renovation plans include a smokehouse restaurant. They reached their $5,000 goal and have increased their next milestone to $7,000.
    • Chartier in Beaumont is now closed for a few weeks to undergo renovations.
    • Guilt Free Eats is enjoying their hectic time inside Edmonton’s NHL bubble.
    • The hockey reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tried the comfort food from The Local Omnivore from the bubble.
    • Costco has now rolled out a delivery option at 76 stores across Canada through Instacart, including in Edmonton.
    • Where Edmonton’s new Edmonton City Guide is now available (though given the current circumstances checking websites for opening updates would be advised).
    • Have you considered eating your weeds? “Wild eating” is a growing trend, says one local.

    Beyond Edmonton

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • The Alberta Farmers’ Market Association is offering some cash prizes for those sharing on social media what they’ve created using products purchased at local markets. Entries are accepted until August 16, 2020.

    What I Ate

    • On Fridays we picnic, or at least, that’s what we’ve tried to do this summer. We enjoyed the chicken katsu sandwich and patty melt from our new favourite neighbourhood spot, Rosewood Foods.

    Rosewood Foods

    Rosewood Foods in Churchill Square

    • To help beat the heat, Mack, Emily, and I donned our masks to pick up some gelato from La Carraia this weekend.

    La Carraria

    La Carraia

    • The Edmonton Eats event that was to showcase Somali cuisine was postponed back in March. Organizers re-tooled the event to be delivered virtually, with videos to be watched and food delivered to be enjoyed from the comfort of our own homes. Everything was delicious: the salad, while simple, was so refreshing; and the Somali rice was tasty. I think more explicit instructions or details about the food would be an improvement to consider for future events (it may not be common knowledge, for instance, that the bananas were meant to be eaten alongside the main course), but overall I was really impressed with the transition to a different format.

    Edmonton Eats

    Our Edmonton Eats spread

    Food Notes for July 27, 2020

    Italian Centre Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

    On July 23, 2020, the Italian Centre Shop released news that one of their south location staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

    In response to this news, we took immediate action and conducted a deep clean and sanitization of the entire store and notified Alberta Health Services (AHS). The team member who tested positive last worked shifts on July 13, 14 and 15. Today, remains self-isolated at home.

    AHS is conducting close contact tracing and will contact any employee who may require testing and will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. To our knowledge, AHS has not identified any individuals to be a close contact or at risk.

    The next day, the Italian Centre announced that starting July 27, 2020, all of their team members will be required to wear masks in common areas and public facing spaces.

    The Italian Centre chose a proactive route, sharing the statement on all of their social media channels. This may be the course of action most advised in the food and hospitality sector as a measure of maintaining customer trust. In June, several restaurants, including Greta, MKT, and Earls Tin Palace, closed voluntarily due to staff or customers testing positive for COVID-19.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Krew Cafe is now open inside Honor Baby and Child in Lendrum (5722 111 Street).
    • The Fringe Grounds Cafe is now open inside the ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Avenue), serving food, coffee, and beer and wine.
    • Seafood City Supermarket, a Filipino/Asian grocery chain, is now open at 17540 100 Avenue.
    • You Need a BBQ offers barbecue supplies and classes, and is run by two local decorated BBQ competitors. It is located 113 65 Chippewa Road, Sherwood Park.

    Upcoming Events

    • Get Cooking is resuming in-person farm dinners at Prairie Gardens with an event on August 1, 2020. Tickets are $145 per person.
    • Linda’s next Instagrammable Wall Photo Walk & Food Crawl will take place in Old Strathcona on August 8-9, 2020. Tickets are $25 per person with 25% going to the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.
    • It’s Food Truck Friday at the Emerald Hills Sports Pavilion every Friday from 4:30-7:30pm until August 21, 2020.
    • The virtual Heritage Festival runs for the entire month of August, and “foods from…small, locally-owned cultural restaurants” will be available for purchase on August 1, 2020.

    Reviews

    Local News

    • Plant-based food truck Guilt Free Eats is one of the food trucks inside the NHL bubble, catering to up to 700 players and staff every day.
    • The Taste of Edmonton has extended their fundraiser to gather funds for the 2021 event. Donations will be accepted until August 31, 2020.
    • There’s a new locally-roasted coffee available in town: Kaffa, roasted by the folks behind Sugar Bowl and Eleanor and Laurent.
    • The second part of the Let’s Find Out Podcast about former restaurant Mirama’s significance to the Chinese community is now live.
    • Sharon rounds up some of the new small food-based businesses she has tried recently.
    • Jason Foster declares that the “age of local craft beer is nigh”, based on the availability of local brands at small liquor stores across the city.
    • A site called Best in Edmonton contains a variety of food-related lists, including highlighting Vietnamese restaurants, cafes, and sushi restaurants.

    Beyond Edmonton

    • The Sprawl published a story about former employees’ experiences at Righteous Gelato (formerly Fiasco Gelato).
    • As many people are seeking adventures closer to home, Linda just shared a sponsored post about her food recommendations in Medicine Hat.

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    What I Ate

    • I finally had the chance to join an #EatWithMeYEG for the first time for a conversation about systemic racism and its impacts on food security and injustice. Thanks for the organizers for putting together a fantastic panel! For my lunch, through not an official #AdoptAShopYEG entry, I picked up my favourite beef and gouda arepa from El Fogon (Linda updated to say that 173 people collectively spent more than $8,000 during #AdoptAShopYEG week).

    #EatWithMeYEG

    My #EatWithMeYEG set-up

    • Mack, Emily, and I finally made it to our front porch (aka Say Uncle’s patio) on a sunny day. We found its familiarity and proximity to our home much more manageable for pandemic dining.

    Say Uncle

    Our Say Uncle spread

    Food Notes for July 20, 2020

    Buffets Greenlit to Resume

    Buffets are now permitted to re-open for self-service in Alberta, following new protocols that featured input from a local buffet chain.

    Staff from Buffet Royale Carvery, which has four locations in the Edmonton area, worked with Alberta Health Services on crafting guidance to maintain the health and safety of diners. These protocols include having dedicated staff to: require patrons sanitize their hands before entering the buffet line; dispense plates and utensils; and change out serving utensils after use by individuals or table groups.

    Buffet Royale’s Sherwood Park location resumed dine-in buffet service on June 25, 2020.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Bodega Pantry is now open next to Sabor, and in addition to Spanish and Portuguese pantry staples, they also serve sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
    • Fort McMurray-based Jomaa’s Pizza & Donair has opened a location in Edmonton at 15178 127 Street.
    • Taste of Shangri-la has opened in the former Sloppy Hoggs location, at 9563 118 Avenue. They serve Indian, Chinese, and Nepali cuisine.

    Upcoming Events

    • The next #EatWithMeYEG event will be held on July 22, 2020 and will focus on black-owned restaurants.
    • The second Alberta on the Plate festival takes place August 7-16, 2020, and will focus on restaurants who are highlighting local ingredients. In addition to multi-course dine-in menus, this year restaurants may also choose to offer takeaway menus. So far, Edmonton has four participating restaurants (High Level Diner, Smokey Bear, Why Not, XIX Nineteen), but more may be added. Menus will be live August 1.

    Local News

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    What I Ate

    • Mack, Emily, and I finally had our first dine-in experience over the weekend, outside, and contained to our household: the weather was finally cooperative for us to try Fox Burger’s rooftop patio. While the food was good (the Fox cheeseburger was really tasty), a combination of the stress related to dining out during a pandemic and dining out with a toddler has made us reconsider the next time we’ll do it again, especially in restaurants we’ve never been to before.

    Fox Burger

    Fox cheeseburger on the Fox Burger patio

    • We have been doing our best to eat outdoors where possible, and this week, that meant taking my treat from Rosewood Foods to enjoy by the river!

    Rosewood Foods

    Brown butter chocolate chip cookie from Rosewood Foods

    • We also met up for a socially distant picnic with some friends at Hawrelak Park, and combined the outing with an excuse to try Culina on the Lake. The menu is basic concession fare, but my halibut burger was made fresh to order and the fries were hot and crispy. I did wish there were plexiglass screens to protect the staff in the small indoor space, given no patrons other than me were wearing masks.

    Culina on the Lake

    Halibut burger and fries from Culina on the Lake

    • I’ve been referring to many of the small food businesses popping up during these last few months as “pandemic kitchens” – it will be interesting to see how many will last through the current circumstances and transition into something more permanent. At any rate, we ordered from one such business and tried some Nai Nai Mie noodles (thanks Linda for the recommendation!). I enjoyed the texture of the noodles – great chew, and the chicken portion (while small) was delicious. It would be something handy to have in the freezer as a back-up meal.

    Nai Nai Mie

    Nai Nai Mie at home

    • It’s no secret I miss the 104 Street market terribly; while we still patronize the indoor location, it really isn’t the same, and some of our favourite vendors have either left or been pushed out of the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market. Al Fresco on 4th will be filling a void for me – it runs on Saturdays from 11am-4pm until September 19, 2020, and features a number of food vendors, including Riverbend Gardens, Steve & Dan’s, and Stonepost Farms.

    Al Fresco on 4th

    Al Fresco on 4th

    Food Notes for July 13, 2020

    Northern Chicken First Local Restaurant to Require Masks

    With provincial and municipal leaders so far reluctant to introduce mandatory face coverings for indoor public spaces, businesses have taken it upon themselves to create and enforce mask requirements.

    Back in May, T & T Supermarket required all customers entering their stores across Canada to wear masks. In Edmonton, the first restaurant to do so is Northern Chicken.

    Co-owner and Chef Andrew Cowan tweeted,

    “Starting Monday July 14th masks will be mandatory to enter @northchickenyeg NO EXCEPTIONS, even if you wish to done [sic] in we respectfully request to arrive and leave with a mask on.”

    Masks will be required of all customers entering the premises, including those who are picking up food to go. They do have a window facing 124 Street that may be open in the evenings to allow customers to pick up take-out without entering the shop.

    In COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Breadland will likely relocate to their Garneau location (8440 109 Street) in September. To prepare, they will be closing their current location for two weeks in August.
    • Bambu, a California-based Vietnamese coffee/dessert chain, opened its first Edmonton location in Old Strathcona, at 10347 82 Avenue.
    • South Point Pizza offers “culturally inspired pizza” at 805 Tamarack Way.
    • River Cree Casino has debuted a new restaurant on its premises, called Italia.

    Closures

    Upcoming Events

    • Feast on Fourth is an initiative from businesses located on the 4th Street Promenade downtown. Every Thursday this summer, select businesses will be offering specials and discounts. Check the Facebook page for updated information.
    • Also on 104 Street, Al Fresco on 4th will run on Saturdays from 11am-4pm from July 18-September 19, 2020 will close the street to vehicle traffic and feature a curated vendor market, sidewalk patios, and community programming. The Facebook page will be updated with more information.

    Local News

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • Riverbend Gardens is featured in a story about how the delay in receiving Seasonal Agricultural Workers has impacted their farm.

    What I Ate

    • We’ve been trying to make the most of this rainy summer and eat outdoors when possible. On Friday, this meant take-out from Grandin Fish ‘N’ Chips and a picnic at the nearby Ezio Farone Park. Super-efficient service (if we could walk faster, the order would have been ready in 10 minutes!), and both the fish and chips remained crispy when we were ready to eat it.

    Grandin Fish

    Emily loves a good picnic

    • We also walked over to the 124 Grand Market on Sunday – it was great to be able to support both Steve & Dan’s and Riverbend Gardens, two of the vendors we’ve patronized for many years at the former City Market. We also managed to enjoy our order from Drift before the skies opened up again – it’s been too long since my last buttermilk chicken sandwich.

    Drift

    Buttermilk chicken sandwich from Drift